ML - Vegas Magazine

Vegas - 2015 - Issue 7 - November - Natalie Dormer

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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Page 15 of 115

Nevada Governor Bob Miller, Steve Wynn, and Siegfried & Roy, with two white tigers, at the 1989 grand opening of Mirage. PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF THE LAS VEGAS NEWS BUREAU Hard as it may be to believe, the holidays in Vegas don't necessarily bring about a boom in foot traffi c. But when Steve Wynn's Mirage Hotel & Casino opened its doors on November 22, 1989—a day before Thanksgiving—the Strip was anything but quiet. Ever the strategist, Wynn had cleverly forbidden even members of the media from previewing the South Seas–themed property, making its opening day the fi rst time anyone not employed by the company would get a glimpse of it. The public's curiosity had reached a fever pitch: "Hundreds of people… ran up the two driveways to the main entrance to be among the fi rst to visit the elaborate, $630 million Mirage," wrote reporter Jeff Burbank in the Las Vegas Sun. "Security guards tried to discourage picture-taking, but the onslaught was too great, as people aimed Instamatics and camcorders at Wynn, who posed for a few photos." Yet while the lavish resort might have been an immediate hit, it certainly hadn't been built overnight; it took Wynn and his team, including lead architect Joel Bergman and CEO Bobby Baldwin, more than four years to conceptualize and develop the property, and from the very beginning, it was a Vegas bound- ary-breaker in more ways than one. For starters, the 3,000 -room resort was signifi cantly larger than most of its Strip competitors and with a construction cost of $630 million, the priciest to date. Even more importantly, its design placed an emphasis on the resort as experience, with beautiful public spaces and focal points—including a central glass-domed atrium fi lled with tropical plants, a 60-foot lobby aquarium, and an exploding natural-gas volcano in the property's front yard—stealing the spotlight away from the gaming fl oor. Within two hours of opening, Mirage had welcomed an astonishing 50,000 visitors—the fi rst of them being four white tigers escorted by Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, whose show would grow to be among the wildly popular —and profi table—hotel's fi nest selling points. Its enduring success, meanwhile, forever altered the landscape of the Strip by spurring new develop- ment in the form of themed, family-friendly properties like Excalibur, Treasure Island, and Luxor. V DESERT OASIS MIRAGE OPENS ITS DOORS IN NOVEMBER 1989—AND THE LAS VEGAS STRIP CHANGES FOREVER. BY TESS EYRICH 14 VEGASMAGAZINE.COM FRONT RUNNER

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